My recent 50mm for fifty days project saw me using a 50mm lens on an older camera body (canon 5d MKII), as I simply no longer wanted to participate in the race to keep up with all the latest gear, it was a chance to use camera gear that I would have liked when it was new but was simply financially out of reach, or in the case of the small point and shoots I now have, simply not even considered.
Those flagship cameras of a decade or more ago have long since been superceded by newer and more advanced versions, where they can be bought for a fraction of the price, this is where I acquired a collection of varied older cameras that had been left in a box and unused, until now.
I have posted a number of blogs of photos taken with a Canon G11, Canon s95 and the two more recent additions a Leica X1 and Dlux-6 but I had one more to try from my original box of goodies, a lumix GF2 which I paired with a Panasonic 20mm F1.7 that I had retained from my dalliance with the Micro four thirds system.
Wanting to take a smaller camera with me on a seaside walk last weekend, I finally packed the GF2 and 20mm into my bag and rarely used the 5dII as I was enjoying the smaller combo so much.
The 20mm lens is spoken in high regard with many of the Micro four thirds fraternity, it is not hard to see why, this unobtrusive lens is sharp even at the widest aperture, what’s not to like?
A few years ago, a camera without a viewfinder would not have found its way into my camera bag, since then, I have come to love how not having a viewfinder helps me see shots I may not have seen with the camera at my eye.
Enough about the gear, the images of my walk around Teignmouth were a very enjoyable way of spending a couple of hours by the coast.
Since I have decided to carry a small digicam in my workday rucksack, I leave for work a few minutes earlier just to allow for any potential stoppages to take photos, even at silly O’ clock in the morning.
With a healthy student population attending the University, Exeter has several purpose built student blocks throughout the city, one in particular is opposite the bus station where I await my transport to work.
The light in the canteen of the building along with the stencils on the glass made for an image that was too good to pass up, it may or may not work, in monochrome it most certainly did.
In all honesty, I was not expecting the shot to have come out so well with such a small camera, but the little Canon S95 has delivered one of my favourite low light images ever.
For a good few years I had hoped that I would eventually get my hands on a Leica camera, the Rolls Royce of the photography world with legendary German precision engineering, the price for which has remained firmly out of my reach in terms of a new purchase but the second hand market offers a more realistic entry into the red dot ownership.
With a recent purchase of the Leica / panasonic badged Dlux-6, I was not expecting to purchase another camera any time soon but a search on a well known auction site turned up trumps with a 13 year old Leica X1!
I convinced myself to purchase on the basis that it fits well into my ongoing ‘older’ camera project and that the fixed 24mm lens equates to my favourite 35mm focal length in full frame terms.
Reviews suggested it was slow to auto focus and the LCD screen was lacking resolution but 13 years ago it was the technology of the day and I was happy to take a chance in giving this little beauty a new forever home.
Just as a child at Christmas, I was eager to get out with my new toy, so I packed the camera into my rucksack to hopefully grab a few shots on the way home from work over the last couple of days, just to get a feel for the controls before a ‘proper’ shoot or two a the weekend.
In the past, the lack of a built in viewfinder may have been a deal breaker but I have become more accustomed to using a rear screen with the LX5 and Canon G11, I am even starting to think that I am seeing more opportunities by shooting this way but it is not to everyone’s taste.
With less than an hour’s shooting time so far, I am still very much on a learning curve with the X1 but I am more than pleased with the initial results.
I had not intended to purchase any more older cameras for a while but sometimes a bargain is too good to pass up, in my case, the chance to dip my toe into Leica waters, the Panasonic / Leica collaboration, D-Lux 6.
There is some debate in photographic circles about this being a ‘true’ Leica, arguments aside, for me, it is an affordable way of getting my foot in the door. Yes, I would love a ‘Q’ or ‘Q2’ but I wonder if the price would force me to over protect the camera and not use it as it should be used.
To all intents and purposes it is a Lumix LX7 minus the grip and a slight difference in the internal software, costing a few hundreds pounds more in its day than the ‘7’.
I had made a decision just a few days before to sell my LX10/15 on, it simply was not getting the use it deserved, so I was potentially in the market for something else.
The purchase was made and the new kid on the block was waiting for me on my return from a few days away near Cheltenham, I could not wait to try out my latest recruit.
The controls are not much different from my LX5, just exposure compensation being controlled from the rear dial rather than the D-pad and the addition of the dedicated ND filter button and aperture controlled from the lens barrel, a feature I really like.
I have had a couple of outings already, one around Dartmoor where I took just a few shots in between rain showers and a longer amble around my home town of Exeter earlier today.
I think the colours are slightly more muted than the LX5 but the lens sharpness is as good if not better, the camera is just a joy to use, true Leica or not.
My foray into older digital compact cameras began a few weeks ago after the purchase of a box of camera gear, my last few posts with the Canon G11 and Canon S95 were part of this collection but there are two more that have hardly seen the light of day, a more modern Lumix LX15 (LX10 in the USA) and a Lumix GF2.
Today, was the turn of the LX10, a camera with a 1” sensor, much larger in comparison to the aforementioned Canon cameras and a focal range of 24-72mm in full frame terms.
Heading into town later than normal on my Sunday walk meant it would be a little busier, it would be a good chance to get a little more used to the camera’s controls and an indicator as to how I might customize the user programmable function buttons.
There is a school of thought within the street photography genre, that there a two types of photographer, the hunter, who will keep on the move searching for those decisive story telling images, or the fisherman, who will pick their spot and wait for the scene to unfold.
I fell into the ‘hunter’ category today, finding a couple of favourite spots and waiting patiently for a potential image to present itself.
I did not have long to wait, as a young lad decides to play ‘spiderman’ in one of the shopping precincts, mum with increasing degrees of exasperation asking him to get off, as they have things to do!
I am make full use of the upwardly tilting screen, the camera has no viewfinder but this works to my advantage, with the camera not blatantly to my face to take the image, the lower perspective adding a little more to the image to my mind.
Since shooting with these compact cameras, I have begun to appreciate how unobtrusive they are, as well as their obvious difference in weight to my bigger gear. In the past I have been guilty of what I call ‘sensor snobbery’, falling into the trap of ‘needing’ full frame gear for my photography needs while not giving these versatile pocket rockets a second glance.
Full frame of course, has its place but I am not a professional photographer with demanding clients and tight deadlines, photography for me, is my release from my full time work and as long as I have some sort of a camera in my hand to record images from my weekend outings, I will always have fun in doing so.
Saturdays tend to be the days where I have a trip to Dartmoor or a little further afield from my home town of Exeter, where Sunday’s have evolved into my ‘stay local’ walks, often up and out before seven AM to enjoy having a city pretty much to myself while others luxuriate in their Sunday lie in.
For me, Photography has gone hand in hand with my hikes, long or short, so I cannot remember the last time that I did not take a camera bag with me, that is until today.
Those that are following my current chapter in my photography will know that I have purchased some older digital compact cameras at budget prices, the most recent being a Lumix LX5, which has been vying for a place in my bag with a Canon G11 and a Canon S95 but today, I have decided to take just the LX5 and a spare battery on my Sunday walk.
As a further exercise in my becoming more acquainted with the ‘5’, I have decided to make full use of the dedicated aspect ratio control that have become a feature of many Panasonic compact cameras, 16:9,4:3.3:2 and 1:1.
I became addicted to the 1:1 square format with my long since gone Fuji X100F, however this was only if I shot Jpeg’s, the LX5 will shoot RAW in this format, this would be my theme for the today’s walk.
Coupled with the ability to shoot close up at the wide end of the focal range, this gave me the option of getting some decent macro shots as I meandered my way along my chosen path. Naturally, with such a diminutive sensor, there will never be that separation of the subject and background but nonetheless, the image quality is very pleasing.
It is fair to say that I am having a blast using these older cameras, I love the G11 and S95 for the colours, the LX5 for its versatility but they have one thing in common, they have really brought the fun element back into my photography, as I find myself shooting compositions I may not have shot with my bigger gear.
I have a few days away in the coming weeks and I am seriously considering just taking my trio of compacts only, something I never thought I would ever do just a few weeks ago.
I am due to be moving house at the end of the month so I should really be getting my head around packing more boxes to make my life a little easier and what better way to start, by deciding to go out for another local camera walk!
In my defence, it was just after six thirty AM, my customary first brew of the day was already history and I am sure my neighbours would not be happy with too much disturbance at that hour on a Sunday morning anyway.
As I was so pleased with the new (but old) LX5’s images from yesterday’s outing, I decided to take just this camera and a spare battery, this diminutive little camera easily fits into a pocket, so for the first time in a very long time I, I did not even take a camera bag with me.
A few of the reviews on the LX5 had suggested that the in camera dynamic black and white picture profile was very good, so I have set one of the camera’s custom presets to shoot with this profile in JPEG only, I decided also, to make full use of the ‘5’s ability to shoot in the square format at the flick of a switch.
An additional post will be made in the coming days of the colour images from today’s sneaky outing but I was keen to share the images from the black and white perspective, before I begin the onerous task of sorting and packing for my impending move.
As my dalliance with older digital cameras continues apace, today was the turn of my Lumix LX5, for its first ‘proper’ shoot.
A trip to Dartmoor would give the latest recruit a challenge with the changing light but I would not be disappointed.
My enjoyment of shooting in the square format was soon put to the test as the ‘5’ has the ability to shoot 1:1 aspect ratio in RAW, a stroll around the footpath of Venford reservoir gave me plenty of chances to find some early autumn compositions.
Using the square format with the cameras macro mode worked very well, the level of detail was very pleasing to say the least.
When I started shooting with these almost forgotten cameras, I had envisaged the occasional day out with them, however, it would appear that they will find their way into my bag for some time to come as it feels as though I have rediscovered the hobby of photography all over again.
The latest of my bargain retro cameras has finally joined the ranks of my other digital compacts, the Canon G11, Canon S95, Lumix LX3 and Lumix GF2, a warm welcome to the Lumix LX5.
Since I was not able to try it out yesterday afternoon, I ensured the battery was fully charged and packed it into my work rucksack, so I was able to go for a quick photoshoot after work today, in my usual test arena, Exeter city centre.
Being very similar to my LX3, it did not take long to get used to the button layout, just as well, as I was going to be shooting between heavy rain showers, So I was keen to get a few shots under my belt before the next downpour.
One of the reasons shooting with these compact cameras is so much fun, is that nobody is bothered with this innocuous little camera, so I go about my photography unnoticed.
Knowing how good the images from the LX3 were, I was looking forward to seeing what the ‘5’ could do, I was not disappointed.
My last couple of blog posts have centred around a couple of older Canon cameras I recently acquired in a job lot of camera gear, today’s post will be about one of the other cameras from the same box and something a little newer, a Panasonic LX10.
This camera is around six years old, a digital compact design with a one inch sensor.
With a day of rain showers forecast, I decided to make the most of the break between the next cloudburst and take a quick stroll around the city and riverside for my now regular Sunday amble.
Much of my walk was spent getting used to the LX10, customising function buttons to my most used settings, while seeing just what this little camera was capable of.
For my landscape images it did well but where it shone was in my walk back through the city centre, where I took some candid shots as the world passed me by.
Nobody blinked an eyelid at the bloke on the bench with a point and shoot camera, seemingly looking at images with the camera’s tilt screen.